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New Temptations

Many of the old temptations I used to have are really not temptations at all anymore.  I LOVE that!  This is GREAT news, ladies!

I have ZERO desire to say hateful things to my husband, to criticize him, lecture him, boss him around, complain, argue, disrespect him or try to control him anymore.   In fact, I almost never even THINK that stuff anymore.  God has changed me profoundly.  And those were VERY strong temptations at the beginning of this journey.  Now, you could not pay me to say some of the things I used to say to him.  I know exactly the damage I would be causing, and I just can’t do that anymore – PRAISE GOD!

You know how when you are starting to learn respect and submission, saying admiring things and praising your husband feels like speaking a foreign language and feels awkward?  Well, now, saying the awful old things feels awkward, foreign and icky.  I hope that will be very encouraging news to those of you beginning your journey!  God can and will change and renew your mind and heart.

But temptations do not end.  We are still human and still on this earth.  I am still a wretched sinner in total need of Christ every moment.

Now, there are still temptations, some old ones, and some new ones (this comes with the territory of the later stages of this journey):

  • There are still temptations to commit idolatry.  It could be easy to make rituals idols, or even respect an idol, or ministry an idol – almost anything could become an idol!  My heart is an idol factory – and I have to CONSTANTLY be on guard for idols.  I have a rebellious, stubborn, wandering heart.  I pray that God will bind me to Himself!
  • There are still temptations to do other things and put off spending time with God – especially when the schedule is very busy.  Not a good thing to do!  I MUST have that time with Him, or I am worthless to my family and everyone else!
  • There are still temptations to have impure motives.  The difference now is that I can recognize them much more quickly.  I have to CONSTANTLY ask God to check my motives and purify my motives to be sure that what I am doing is for the right reasons.  Every thought still must be captured for Christ!  That battle never goes away.  Am I doing this for my glory, to make myself look good?  Why do I really want to do this thing?  Or am I doing it purely for the glory of God?  The human heart is wicked and deceitful above all things.  I can easily deceive myself.  I need God’s Word and His Spirit to constantly search my soul for sin with that intense spotlight of God.
  • I must still be sure I am holding nothing back from Jesus daily.  I have to examine my heart. Is there something that I want to say, “You can have everything, Jesus – except for THAT!”  I have to be sure that I am fully surrendered and yielded to Him and His will.
  • I must still die to self daily.  And I must still be prepared for those moments when self suddenly tries to come down off the cross.  I’ve got to have the hammer and nails ready!  Not my will, but Yours, be done, Lord!
  • There is still the temptation to run ahead of God – with writing posts, wanting to write a book, wanting to see things happen for others or in my family.  Thankfully, God’s Spirit usually reminds me QUICKLY to stop and wait now.  And I don’t view waiting with the loathing I used to!  I want to learn every single lesson along the way.  The waiting is the most important part!  That is where my faith is often tested.
  • There is temptation for me to think I am too important here.   Pride can set in easily.  I have to always be vigilant about that.  God is what people need, not me.  God is the necessary ingredient here – and His power.  I am just a jar of clay for Him to pour through.  I am not the essential one.  And if God decides to – He can remove me from the picture, and His purposes and plans will still carry on just fine without me.
  • It is tempting for me to think if I just explain the “right way” enough – women will understand all of this stuff.  Sometimes I have to let women go.  I cannot be God’s Spirit.  I can’t open people’s eyes.  I can present the truth, but I can’t control when and how and where people will see it.  I have to present and then allow God’s Spirit space and time to do His job.  I can’t force anyone to understand and learn when they are not ready.  Some women have heard me out, and then chose to rebel against God and His Word.  And I had to let them go.  That is REALLY hard.  It is tempting to try to cling and make them go God’s way.  But that is not my place!   I prayed for them daily.  But you know what?  God has brought many of them back to Himself!  Not me.  I didn’t do it.  But He has done this.  What a mighty God we serve!  He is so very good, all the time.  Regardless of circumstances.
  • It is a temptation for me to take on the weight of other people’s problems.  I used to do that.  But, thankfully, now, God has shown me how to lay the burdens down at His feet and not carry any of the weight.   I am really glad for that!  All that weight would crush me.  So, I don’t carry it, I trust God to do that.  But it is a temptation, and I must guard against it.
  • There is a temptation to miss opportunities God is giving me.   I don’t want to ignore or miss ONE!
  • If someone treats my husband with disrespect, it is REALLY, REALLY tough for me to sit quietly and not say something.  I have spent 4 years now learning to respect this man and honor his leadership – and it completely eats me up if someone else is disrespectful to him or tries to control him.  I get UPSET.  I want to step in and rescue him.  I actually emailed Laura Doyle (“The Surrendered Wife”) about this issue a few years ago, and she had very wise advice for me.  She said, “the respectful thing to do here is to trust him to handle his own relationships and his business without your interference.”  Well, that makes sense!  How come I couldn’t have come up with that!?!?  So now, I remain quiet and trust him to take care of himself in his relationships and dealings with people.
  • If I see a wife disrespecting her husband, trying to control him and treating him like he is an idiot – WOW! – I have a HARD time witnessing that and not intervening.  But I know it would be disrespectful and ineffective for me to rush over and try to tell a wife what to do.  I would probably get slapped – or shot.  So I haven’t intervened so far!  It is definitely not my place AT ALL to be the respect and submission police.  That is the Holy Spirit’s job.  I am not the Holy Spirit.  But still, it is a HUGE temptation for me to interject myself when I see women being disrespectful, condescending, negative and controlling with their men.  Thoughts definitely enter my mind!  I want them to find the intimacy, joy and peace God has shown me.  And it is excruciating to see the pain those husbands are in!  But I have to be patient and allow God to work in His time.  I can’t just go around trying to force wives to learn about God’s design.  I need to only work with the women God brings to me who are ready to learn and ready and able to hear.
  • I cannot stand to hear women bashing their husbands/boyfriends/ex-husbands.  That makes me want to run screaming out of the building.  It is like nails scratching a blackboard to me now.  It is shear torture!  I seriously have to bite my lips – and hopefully find something very engaging to read or do if I must be in the same vicinity and can’t leave and it is not appropriate for me to address the situation.  Oh, I hate hearing that stuff  SO MUCH!
  • Issues with other men – The more I understand about the power of respect, submission, godly femininity, godly masculinity and God’s design for marriage – there are new temptations.  With all this knowledge comes a lot of scary power.  Now that I can see the masculine perspective and point of view, and I can see how disrespectfully some husbands are being treated – I have to be REALLY, REALLY careful.   I have a lot of empathy for men.  Now – I know what men need.  I know what they want.  I know what they like and how they perceive the world.  This whole new world of manliness has opened up for me and it is an amazing and wondrous place!  I appreciate men’s wisdom and masculinity as being a reflection of Christ.  I know how to meet their needs now.  I know the power of respect, godly femininity, a peaceful and gentle spirit that does not give way to fear, admiration and praise.  I know what men could become if their wives give them respect, honor, faith, trust, encouragement and praise.  And that really helps me to be able to teach this powerful stuff to other women and to translate husbands’ words and actions for wives.  It is a HUGE blessing!  But I have to be extremely careful not to see a man who is starving for respect and think that I can meet that need.  I mean – I COULD meet that need.  But then what a MASSIVE MESS that would be.   I can be respectful, of course – to a point – with everyone (men and women).  But I have to only give teeny, tiny doses of respect and be extremely aware that I can’t apply the respect/admiration skills full force on any other men. I can only do that for my husband.  THAT IS IT.  I have to hold WAY, WAY back with other men.  This respect and admiration stuff is like having super powers with men.  And it  is some seriously dangerous ground.
  • Persecution – When a woman stands for the truth of God and His design for marriage – lots of people, women especially, cannot tolerate her stand for Christ.  There is persecution.  So far – it is very mild.  Just words.  It’s not a bad thing – it is actually a good sign that people are treating me in some small way like Jesus was treated – with contempt and ridicule.  Jesus says we are blessed when we suffer on His account.  But I long so much to honor God with my response – to know what to say and if to say something and when to say it. There are temptations not to forgive – that is why I need the Spirit of Christ to be in control NOT me!   So I must constantly check my heart for unforgiveness or any tiny root of bitterness and get rid of it immediately!  I long to see these people come to know Jesus and have His peace, joy and eternal life with Him forever!
  • This will shock you, I know.  I am frequently tempted to spend too long BLOGGING, working on my book and emailing people.  I LOVE blogging and ministering to wives and am not particularly great at moderation sometimes.  So finding balance with all of my priorities can be tricky for me.   Thankfully, my husband has lovingly given me a curfew of 10:00pm on the computer so that I will stop and spend time with HIM from 10:00-12:00 and that has been the best thing ever!

Please pray for me as I minister, for my marriage, my children, wisdom and God’s Spirit to have full control as I write and for God to keep me from sin and temptation by His power for His greatest glory!  Satan would love to take me down.  I am a target.  So are you!  Let’s pray for one another and build each other up!

My Personal Convictions about Dealing with other Men:

My personal convictions:
– I don’t EVER want to be alone with another man in a room/building.
– I don’t ride alone in a car with another man.
– I don’t have private phone conversations/email conversations/texting/FB messages with another man
– my husband has full and total access to all of my text messages, my FB messages, my internet history. I am completely transparent.
– I tell my husband immediately if I notice temptation so that I stay accountable to him.
– I tell my godly girl friends/prayer partners or my twin sister about tempting feelings or even the possibility of tempting feelings.
– If I notice possible temptation, I try to break contact with that man completely.
– I pray that God would take me out of this world before I would fall and disgrace Him, my marriage and my family by getting ensnared in adultery.
– If possible, I much prefer not to work with men at all.

To me – I have a constant sense that other men could be poison. I try to keep a very clear distance.

Blogging creates some new challenges.  So I am constantly in prayer and talking with my husband and godly girlfriends to see if I need to add additional accountability measures.

What Does God Say about Me?

Let’s just look at Romans through chapter 8.  There are obviously thousands of other promises and things that God says about us in the Bible.  But here are some of the most basic and foundational tenets of Scripture upon which we may build our lives, hope and faith with confidence.  It is time to tear out all that is ungodly in our thinking and build on the foundation of Christ and His Word alone.  HERE is my hope!  THIS is my identity!  THIS is my strength!  HERE is my power and purpose in life!

  • I am a sinner in desperate need of the gift of Christ.  I cannot earn favor with God.  I can’t be good enough.  My efforts at being good are THOUSANDS OF MILES off target.  There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.  All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.  Romans 3:11-12  For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.  Romans 3:23
  • God is interested in my FAITH in what Jesus did for me.  His work on the cross for me and His resurrection (and my receiving His gift) is the only thing that makes me right with Him.  When a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation.  However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.  Romans 4:4-5
  • Jesus paid my sin debt in full.  I owed Him infinitely more than I could never pay.  The words, “it was credited to him (Abraham)” were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness – for us who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.  He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.  Romans 4:23-25
  • I have peace with God!  I have access to grace!  ME!?!?!?!?!  Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.  Romans 5:1-2
  • When I hated God, Jesus died for me.  How much more will He do for me now that I love and serve Him as Lord!?!?   For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life?  Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have received reconciliation (with God).  Romans 5:10-11
  • Jesus alone has the power to make me right with God.  I can trust Him.  He is God, He is not a man that He should lie.  When God is satisfied with what Jesus did on my behalf, who on earth am I to question if Jesus’ blood was adequate to cover my sin?  Am I above God?  For just as through the disobedience of the one man (Adam) the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man (Jesus) the many will  be made righteous.  Romans 5:19
  • I am dead to sin when I am living for Christ and trusting Him for my salvation.  We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?  Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?  Romans 6:2-3  Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.  Romans 6:11
  • I am not a slave to sin anymore.  I am a slave to righteousness!  I am FREE from the power of sin and death!  He is my Master.   Our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.  Romans 6:6-7   Sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.  Romans 6:14   You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.  Romans 6:18
  • God desires me to live for Him and bear fruit for Him, fruit that will last.  God has beautiful purposes for me – to bring Him great glory and praise!  So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to Another, to Him Who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God.
  • I am not condemned by God!  Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law (salvation by my own efforts) was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.  And so He condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.  Romans 8:1-4
  • I can have supernatural life and peace!  Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.  The mind of the sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God.  It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.  Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.  You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature, but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you.  And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.  Romans 8:5-9
  • I am a daughter of the King of kings and Lord of lords!  I have no reason to fear! I am a co-heir with Christ!  For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.  And by Him we cry, “Abba, (Daddy).” … Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.  Romans 8:15-17
  • There are great rewards coming in heaven for me that will make the suffering of this life look like nothing!  I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.  Romans 8:18
  • I am not in this alone, I have a strong Helper.    The Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express…. the Spirit intercedes for the saints (those who love Christ) in accordance with God’s will.  Romans 8:26-27
  • I cannot lose!  I will be victorious regardless of past, current or future circumstances or suffering!  God purposes to make me be more and more like Christ.  God knew me from the beginning of time.  He called me by name.  He made me right with Himself through Jesus.  He will glorify me one day in heaven.  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.  For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son… and those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified.  What, then, shall we say in response to this?  If God is for us, who can be against us?  He Who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?  Romans 8:28-32
  • I am accepted.  I will never be abandoned.  I am safe and secure in my Lord’s love!  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?… No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:35,37-39

The Snare of People-Pleasing

We are continuing our series about ways that controlling people try to control others.  You can check out the posts about control and boundaries, the trying to manipulate others with guilt, and playing the martyr from earlier in the week.  Today’s topic is how we sometimes try to manipulate others and maintain control by being  people-pleasers.

Is “peace” at any cost a good thing?  Is it really peace?

PEOPLE PLEASING

Being a “People-Pleaser” SOUNDS like a virtue, right?    I mean, isn’t it great to try to make everyone be happy with you and not have people angry at you?  The Bible says we are supposed to live in peace as far as it depends on us, after all.  It is easy for people-pleasers to take certain scriptures and believe that what we are doing is godly. But often, we have a very warped definition of love and we trust self more than God and feel we have to be “in charge,” not understanding God’s sovereignty and not submitting fully to Christ as Master.

Here is a list (from Vickie Champion – a psychologist/life coach) of attributes of people pleasers. I have not researched her methods and approach.  So I am not endorsing her counseling techniques, but this list may be helpful.

Here are 52 Ways to Recognize the Chronic, Ingrained People Pleaser…

The perpetual people pleaser…

1   Always avoid conflicts or even disagreements.

2   Makes it a habit to say yes when he or she wants to say no.

3   Constantly worries about hurting others’ feelings.

4   Has no idea what their dreams or goals are.

5   Feels they are never “good” enough.

6   Would rather be nice and perfect than happy.

7   Functions totally from “shoulds.”

8   Assures they always do more than their share.

9   Rarely makes decisions, putting it off on anyone else to do it.

10  Is baffled by the concept, take it easy and relax.

11  Confuses being “needed” with being “loved.”

12  Has a never-ending time management problem.

13  Avoids giving themselves credit for anything.

14  Makes it a practice to please strangers and neglect loved ones.

15  Easily attracts people who need to be rescued and consoled.

16  Strongly believes they need to “do” something to be “loved” or even “accepted.”

17  Is very insecure about their abilities, knowledge or just about anything they do.

18  Routinely operates on auto pilot.

19  Jumps to volunteer, especially for jobs that no one else will do.

20  Feels exhausted from always trying to be “perfect.”

21  Has a huge fear of letting their friends, family and even strangers down.

22  Almost always feel undeserving.

23  Thinks nothing of telling lies to not rock the boat.

24  Overpromises.

25  Constantly seeks approval from others, but could care less about their own opinions.

26  Overapologizes.

27  Wastes time with people who really don’t care or consider their needs.

28  Think they are solely responsible for others’ happiness.

29  Are scared to death of being called selfish, even for an instant.

30  Rarely, if ever, asks for help or accepts help.

31  Constantly suppresses anger, fearing rejection.

32  Would much rather be nice than be real.

33  Has no desire to listen and follow their intuition.

34  Continuously holds back from saying what they really think and feel.

35  Often feels trapped.

36  Are scared to death of being wrong or taking any kind of risk.

37  Reduces their own anxiety by focusing on others’ needs.

38  Comes unglued easily when under pressure.

39  Has plenty of regrets.

40  Tries to provide and control everything in the relationship without considering their own feelings and needs.

41 Are willing to bend over backwards to make unhappy, self-centered, controlling people feel better about themselves.

42  Becomes paralyzed with little nightmares we make up about “if we said and did this, they will say and do that.”

43  Is extremely critical of themselves.

44  Has a really hard time accepting kindness from others.

45  Has poor problem-solving skills.

46  Is unable to direct or supervise others.

47  Feels guilty about not accomplishing enough or not being able to make everyone happy.

48  Runs on the praise and appreciation of other people.

49  Seldom, if ever, expresses an opinion of their own.

50  Is secretly terrified of being “found out” that they are not as good as they appear to others.

51  Displays a bland personality. They don’t want to appear interesting, unique, or challenging. Nope, too risky.

52  Wonders why everyone seems to take advantage of them and why they get little respect?

WAS I EVER A PEOPLE-PLEASER?

YEP!!!!!!!!!!  I sure was.  This mindset was another core part of my sinful heart and a big part of why I was controlling and disrespectful.  That probably seems contradictory that a people-pleaser would be a controlling and disrespectful wife.  But I was more concerned about pleasing strangers and people outside of my family than my husband.  I didn’t want my husband to be mad at me – EVER.  But I also didn’t realize that he actually was upset with me a lot because he didn’t say how he felt – he was so distant.

I was ALWAYS worried about what other people thought and would play conflicts over and over every waking moment for weeks and months trying to decide what I could have/should have said.

I thought if I was NICE enough and kind enough that I could keep people from being mad at me.  (Have you ever worked in a retail pharmacy?  Yeah.  This strategy got me some customer service awards, but it doesn’t work on everyone!  Some people are going to be angry at me.  It won’t matter what I do.  Well, if I gave them drugs illegally, they might be happy with me, but then I will have other problems!)

I was terrified of conflict. Lots, but not all, of the things on this list applied to me.

PEOPLE-PLEASING = IDOLATRY!!!!!

People pleasing is an insidious form of idolatry, unfortunately – and it brings a whole host of other sins along with it – as idolatry always does!  I white wash it and try to believe that my motives are pure – and that it is good not to ever have someone be upset with me.  But my true motives are not pure at all.  What I am really doing is:

  • putting the approval of others above the approval of God (and often above the approval of my husband).  This is idolatry!
  • fearing men (people) rather than fearing God in a proper, respectful, healthy way. I am allowing others to control me instead of making Christ truly Lord and Master.
  • attempting to have peace on a false premise (doing anything to prevent others from being upset) instead of on the truth of God’s Word (love God, love others).
  • I fear the anger of other people and base my behavior on avoiding the possibility of some person’s anger instead of living to honor God.
  • BEING DISHONEST.  I am not saying how I feel.  I am not saying what I want. I   am not saying what I don’t want and then I am resentful of other people for “making” me do what I don’t want to do.  Then I can’t forgive them for my feeling obligated to do things for them and am tied up with the sin of unforgiveness, too!  WHEW!
  • Unforgiveness may seem small – but it is a huge sin!  The Bible teaches that even allowing anger/resentment to continue over one night gives the enemy a foothold.  Imagine what happens when unforgiveness, bitterness and resentment take deep root and grow unchecked for YEARS!
  • avoiding saying “no” because I am not strong enough to say no to things I don’t want to do.  I am allowing others to be responsible for me instead of being responsible for myself before God.  That is poor stewardship and it won’t wash before our holy God!  He will hold me accountable for my own behavior, sins and actions.  He will hold others accountable for theirs.
  • instead of being arrogantly prideful – I am prideful in a false-humility kind of way.  I put myself down and feel unworthy and speak terrible things about myself in my mind and to others.  I do not believe God’s Word about who I am in Christ.  I do not acknowledge  that I am made in the image of God and am fearfully and wonderfully made.  I do not acknowledge that my purpose in life is to glorify God.  I do not allow God’s power to flood my soul and fill me to empower me to be the godly woman God has designed me to be.  I stay in a prison of my own making, feeling sorry for myself, wallowing in my unworthiness, wasting my true potential, burying my talents in the dirt.  I don’t really believe I am a daughter of the King,  and I go voluntarily sit in the dungeon instead of at the King’s table.
  •  I have not fully yielded my heart to Christ as LORD.
  • REFUSING TO HAVE FAITH IN GOD.
  • giving up my influence authority in my marriage by refusing to speak up about my desires, my needs, my wants and my perspective.  My marriage and family suffer when I don’t know my mind, don’t know my feelings, don’t know my desires and don’t share my important perspective.  How can my husband lead properly if I am not fulfilling my responsibilities and providing important information for him to make the best decisions?
  • refusing to have any dreams.   I do need to die to myself and live for Christ.  But when I am living for Christ, He will give me dreams, desires, goals and His will.  I will be full of life, zeal, purpose, joy, peace, love and all the fruit of the Spirit.
  • setting a very negative emotional/spiritual temperature for the family.  Everyone is affected by my depressed mood, my negativity, my hopelessness, my anxiety, my fear, my worry and my lack of God’s presence.
  • setting an ungodly example of femininity and marriage for my children.
  • idolizing “being nice” instead of loving God and loving people.
  • my motives are fear based, not love based.
  • avoiding obeying God’s Word about how to handle conflict  when I am sinned against. Matthew 7:1-5 and Matthew 18:16-18. I am to go to the person who sinned against me (NOT to other people in gossip!) and tell them their sin (gently, humbly, respectfully, lovingly and only after I have repented of any sin in my life).  If they do not listen, I am to take another believer with me as a witness and confront them gently, respectfully and lovingly – and if they will not listen to two people, the Bible says they are to go before the church and if they will not repent, they are to be shunned.  I don’t know many churches that actually practice church discipline anymore.  But, we can do the first few steps.  Unfortunately, most believers today think it isn’t “nice” or isn’t “Christlike” to confront people about sin.  NOT SO!  Love DOES confront sin.  Love does not allow sin to go on and on wounding everyone.  Yes, it is hard!  Yes, it is uncomfortable.  But it is our responsibility to confront sin AFTER we have confronted and repented of ALL sin in our own life first!

WASN’T JESUS “NICE”?

We tend to think that Jesus was a “nice” pushover and a wimp.  We do that because He allowed Himself to be tortured and crucified for us – which actually was an act of great strength, sacrifice and submission to God and not at all the act of a coward, pushover or wimp.  But look at the way He handled Himself with those who opposed God.  He was not “nice.”  He was to the point.  He was strong.  He was love.  He had endless courage.  He stood up for holiness.  He threw tables over in the temple to defend His Father’s house as a house of prayer.  He rebuked people when they were sinning and arrogant about it.  He rebuked self-righteousness and hypocrisy.  He was not “nice” and trying to make everyone like Him at all costs.  He didn’t shrink back from speaking the truth.  He wasn’t afraid to say what He believed and He didn’t say “yes” when he wanted to say “no.”  He never sinned in His anger.  But He did have anger.  He did confront when necessary.  He did not cower from standing for the truth and what was right.

And look at how He will come in the clouds when He returns as the triumphant King of kings and Lord of lords.  He will be on a white horse with a sword coming from His mouth and He will kill all of His enemies with one Word from His mouth.

He is a holy God.  He is just.  He is righteous.  He is ALL-POWERFUL.  He is sovereign.  He does not tolerate sin.  And at the same time, He is love.  He is mercy and grace.  What an incredible combination of strength, power and love.

Being “nice” is really not part of being Christlike.  It is culturally acceptable.  But you can be “nice” to someone as you seethe with resentment.  You can be “nice” as you stew about how much you hate them or hate what you are doing for them.  Being nice does not = being godly.  And I don’t believe that being “nice” has anything to do with what Christ has commanded us to do. The two greatest commandments are to love God with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength and we are to love others with God’s love. I John 4 says we cannot hate people and love God. And Jesus says in John 14:22-24 that anyone who loves Him will obey Him – in everything.

HOW TO SAY “NO.”

If someone is using guilt on you, THE WORST thing you can do is give the REASONS WHY you can’t do something.  They will almost always shoot down any reason and explain why that is not valid.  If you truly don’t want to do something, simply say, “I’m so sorry, I can’t.” And when they ask why, you just continue to say, “I can’t.”  Eventually, they will relent!

But it is also ok to just say

  • No, thanks!
  • I am not going to be able to do that.
  • Let me check with my husband first (if it is someone else asking for your time, money or efforts).

Remember – don’t get into a long drawn out debate or discussion with a controlling, emotional manipulator!  A brief answer of “no” that is pleasant and polite will suffice.  Then the other person is responsible for his/her reaction and emotions.

You cannot MAKE them be angry.  They choose to be angry or to hang on to anger.  That is their choice.  You do what is right in God’s eyes, and let other people handle their emotions.  Apologize if/when you sin against others, and try to live in peace.  But you are not responsible to make other people not angry or make them happy.  That is their own responsibility!

FREEDOM FROM PEOPLE-PLEASING

To be free from this idol.  I have to rip the idol out by the roots and be sure I am building only on the foundation of Christ and His Word.  I must build my life on His truth alone.  I completely repent of every sin.  I must face every fear and combat it with God’s truth, discarding all the lies.  I have to study God’s BIGNESS and sovereignty.  I must study how small I truly am.  I must see His power and my weakness.  He must become MORE and I must become less.  I totally yield my heart to His.  I give up my will for His.  I die to myself.  I live for Him as a living sacrifice every day.  I decide to fear God much, much more than I fear any person.  I decide to desire God’s approval WAY above any human’s approval.  And I decide to obey God’s Word and to abide in Him daily and feast on His Word and ask Him to fill me with His power to be the woman, wife and mother He desires me to be.

 

There is so much reason for HOPE!  Jesus is able to deliver us from the prison of being a people pleaser, or from being a martyr, or from being filled with worldly sorrow and guilt – from any sin.  And He is able to give us a life of joy, love, peace, patience and all the abundant spiritual riches of heaven!

Other Wives Have "Demons," Too!

Kayla authored a guest post last week that really caught the attention of so many wives – and my husband and me.  There were LOTS of lightbulb moments.  I want to share some of the comments two other wives made that I think might be especially helpful for wives.  We also had a LOT of discussion on the Peacefulwife Blog Facebook page about these things over the weekend that you may want to check out, too!

Please check out my Peacefulwife Blog Facebook Page.  There are a few new videos and posts.  I would especially encourage wives to watch the one about “Judging Our Husbands Wrongly.”  MANY of us are very guilty of this.  I sure was!  It’s time for God to open our eyes to how we are sabotaging our husbands spiritually.

WIFE #1

It’s good to know I’m not the only one battling a demon. Mine works a little differently, but hurts my marriage just as much. Mine questions the motives behind my husbands compliments, turning “you look beautiful today” into there is something wrong with my appearance on other days. Then I don’t accept his compliments with grace. When my husband little things to show his love, my demon twists that into my husband thinks I can’t do that for myself. And my poor husband who is just trying to love me is turned into a bad guy. Questioning his love and his motives is just as disrespectful as belittling him.
I’m just now learning that the demon’s voice is not godly, but is in fact from the father of lies who wants to destroy my marriage. And I’m working on listening to my husband who loves me and listening for the Holy Spirit.

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WIFE #2

This post is amazing! Because I read this post, an unwanted situation was avoided this afternoon between me and my husband. I’m going to share because I am so thankful for the wives who share their progress with us and help us to all grow together in Christ.

I share your views regarding the t.v. I also don’t care for loud sports games screaming into the house via the t.v. Today, my husband was wearing his headphones listening to the Sunday football game as he worked in the yard. I was happy to not have to hear it. He came inside and asked me if I would like to share a cold drink with him on the deck. I said SURE! I was happy that he wanted to take some time out to be with me.

Well…….the headphones did not come off. He smiled at me across the picnic table and gave me the thumbs up every time there was a good play and frowned when his team messed up. If I had not read your post earlier, I would have listened to the demons in my head that were saying, “OMG! Is this man crazy?” “Does he really think I want to sit here and watch him listen to a stupid football game?” “How can he be so insensitive?” “The nerve of him to come ask me to share a cold drink with him and he doesn’t even have the decency to give me his undivided attention!”

Thankfully, your post and your story was fresh in my mind. Because of your insight and willingness to share, I was able to kick the demons out and notice what else was going on. He kept his hand on mine on the picnic table the entire time. He verbalized the play by plays as though he thought I was interested and cared about his team. He was sharing something he loves and enjoys with me, his companion and friend.

I decided to smile back and stay with him in spite of feeling as though I was just a spectator and realized that to him, we were sharing a “moment”. When the game ended, which was only about 20 minutes later, he took off his headphones and said, “Wanna take a walk?” We walked hand in hand enjoyed each other the rest of the afternoon.

If I had not read your story, I feel sure that I would have responded to the “demons” and ruined a perfectly good day!

Thank you, April for providing this wonderful place for wives to grow and share. Thank you kaylagulik for sharing today!

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FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

For me – focusing on a list of my husband’s strengths and adding to that as I thought about it each day was extremely helpful. And I didn’t allow myself the luxury of wallowing in his “failures” anymore. I also began focusing on MY sin – that was humbling. When I saw myself more accurately – that helped me not be so judgmental – I had more sin than he did! And then when I saw God – and began to understand the vastness and power of His sovereignty – I held onto that and scripture and praises for God to fill my mind. Sometimes I would play praise music loudly and sing at the top of my voice. And I immediately confessed sin to God. I hope that helps.
I think it is also helpful to realize that a lot of what that horrible voice says are assumptions – NOT facts! Thinking and meditating on the Philippians 4:8 things about my husband was a good way to counteract the lies with truth.
This DOES get easier. As you resist Satan and have God’s Spirit more and more in control – the accuser’s voice gets softer and softer until – for me – I hardly even hear it anymore. That is where so much peace comes from! I hear God’s voice strongly now and barely hear Satan’s voice. And when I do hear that accuser’s voice – I know to ignore him. I actually kind of smile when I hear it now and think to myself – I am NOT going there again! I pray for all of you to find this supernatural peace of God and the joy that comes with it. :)

I can’t keep this news to myself! Have to share it with all my sisters in Christ that I love!

A Wife Learns to Stop "Coaching" Her Husband

Here is a message I received from a reader about the post yesterday.  She has some really amazing insights to share.  Thank you for sharing your story, Theresia!

About the “Are We Deceived about How to Find God’s Will?” post. 

This makes me think about when God learned me that respect towards my husband is the only thing that works.

For half a year me and my husband had a great phase when we were praying a lot together, were united in our goals and he was also fasting for 21 days. After that I felt like things were getting a little less good and I was afraid that we should lose out on this intimacy both with each other and God. I think the best way to describe it is that I more and more turned into becoming my husbands coach. I was trying (I thought very respectfully) encourage my husband to pray and on on, how he should think, do, act… everything. The intimacy surely diminished and we argued more and more.

Then came a weekend when we had a babysitter, we went out of town to go to a christian meeting, sleep at a hotel and go to a wedding the next day. Church was awesome, and afterwards I thought – now we’re going to live really close to God and each other again. The next morning I wanted to spend a lot of time praying with my husband but he wasn’t as motivated as me – I became anxious and started to be a coach again. I felt almost like it was now or never – now we have to be close to God or we will loose the chance. That morning we argued more and more. Everything was terrible as we sat in the car on our way to eat lunch before the wedding. Then I suggested – let’s pray each of us on our own. We did, I hoped God would say something good to my husband, but as I was listening for myself God said to me – Can’t you see this is not working? You’re only making him miserable. The only thing that works is my Word.

In my heart I understood what God was trying to say. The only thing that gives me what I want is giving my husband what God said I should give him – my respect, honor and admiration.

Before we had lunch I told my husband what God told me, I repented and told him I would change.

And so I did. I quit being that coach, realizing that was God’s job. I repented from trying to be God to my husband. Maybe you could say I went from being coach to cheerleader. I tried my best every day to only talk encouraging words and let my husband think, act and choose on his own.

Now I know that in times when I’m successful at being that good wife the Bible talks about my husband is happier and more confident about his abilities to take care of us as a family and make wise decisions.

He has actually said – since you’ve honored me more I feel more led by God! He also shows me much more love!

I’ve also noticed that as I’ve stepped down from being a coach to instead be my husband’s follower I’ve become much more happy and relaxed. Overall I feel safe. There’s just a whole lot of stress going away. I understand that that’s how it feels when you do what you’re supposed to do. Trying to act God is not my job – not strange that makes me tired and anxious.

So, God’s way is the only way, at least the only way that will work! 

Since I repented that day I’ve repented many more times. It’s so ironic how until then it was always my husband who repented, never me, and I thought that was right. He was the one doing wrong, not me. I’m so happy my eyes were opened to my own sin.

Being a Minister's Wife

My Beautiful Mother-in-Law and Our Son

I started something new on my Peacefulwife Blog Facebook page yesterday!  For those of you who prefer to learn by listening – I have posted a few of my first VIDEOS!  Now you can be in “my class” – even though you’re not at my church. 🙂  Let me know if you like that medium and if you find it helpful.  Thank you!

 

I have not been a minister’s wife myself.  But I have been a pastor’s daughter-in-law for 18 years, and although I was not quite as much under the spotlight and scrutiny that my mother-in-law was – I definitely was close enough to see how wonderful and how difficult it can be to be in the “glass fish bowl” – as my husband likes to say.

A number of ministers’ wives have written to me.  I know that being in this position of influence and pressure is a DIFFICULT and CHALLENGING place to be.  There is nowhere to go to hide when things aren’t going well.  Those who are in a pastor’s/minister’s family, but especially his wife – will be held to MUCH higher standards by those in the church, those outside of the church and also by God Himself.  So it is REALLY critical that the ministers’ wives out there become as godly, holy, mature and Spirit-filled as possible.

OTHER PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS WATCHING

A pastor’s wife is under a great deal more scrutiny about everything than almost anyone else in the church (except maybe the pastor): her attitude, speech, tone of voice, behavior, habits, spending, parenting, modesty, cooking, eating, clothing – EVERYTHING is monitored.  She is constantly watched.  If she makes a mistake – everyone will know about it. Some may follow her ungodly example, or they may talk about her behind her back, confront her or the pastor about it or her husband may lose his job.  If she does something godly and sets a beautiful example, people will model after her, too – especially the women in the congregation.

THE POWER OF A PASTOR’S WIFE TO DESTROY

I have seen pastors’ wives (not my mother-in-law!) use their position of influence and exposure to completely and utterly destroy their marriages, their husbands’ ministries and entire churches.  One woman in the position of a minister’s wife can do all an incalculable amount of damage.  All wives can cause complete devastation and damage in their husbands’ lives on some level.  But for a pastor – his wife’s sins, rebellion, idolatry, discord, hatred, unforgiveness, etc… carry much more weight than they would in most marriages.

How could a minister’s wife destroy her husband and his ministry?

  • showing blatant and/or subtle disrespect for her husband in front of church members or other leaders in the church
  • gossipping about her husband or other church members
  • slandering someone in the church
  • using her words to tear down her husband in public and in private
  • calling people in the church and trying to handle personality disputes or leadership disputes herself
  • being very critical of her husband’s abilities as a pastor, demeaning his abilities, calling him lazy or a hypocrite (even if only in private – that is incredibly demoralizing)
  • correcting her husband in front of others
  • having hatred, resentment, contempt, animosity, anger, bitterness and unforgiveness in her heart towards people in the church or her husband
  • cherishing sin in her own life
  • wearing immodest clothing
  • flirting with other men
  • questioning her husband’s decisions constantly – especially in front of others
  • refusing to cooperate with her husband’s spiritual authority in church or in the marriage
  • trying to control the church herself or control her husband as a puppet for her own agenda and desires
  • having an emotional or sexual affair
  • undermining her husband’s spiritual authority at church, in the marriage or as a father
  • not having the love of Christ in her heart
  • having a critical, judgmental, condemning spirit
  • embezzling money or being involved in a scandal
  • refusing to go to the church service
  • arguing with her husband in front of church members
  • bad mouthing her husband to others

This is not an exhaustive list, but hopefully wives can see the idea.  This stuff applies to ALL wives – but ministers’ wives must ESPECIALLY be on guard against this kind of disrespect and any attempts to usurp their husbands’ God-given authority in the church, the marriage and the home.

THE POWER OF A PASTOR’S WIFE TO BUILD UP

There are wise pastors’ and ministers’ wives in the church who understand the enormity of their responsibility before God to obey Him and to show respect for their husbands and to cooperate with their husbands’ leadership.  They understand God will judge them more strictly.  They understand the eyes of the congregation and community are on them all the time.  They know that they are co-laborers with their husbands – they are teammates – to minister for the gospel together.  They know that their husbands’ ability to do his job depends on their wives’ ability to behave themselves in a Christlike way.

A BEAUTIFUL, GODLY EXAMPLE

My mother-in-law has been an incredibly godly pastor’s wife for about 50 years now.  She was able to watch her own behavior, speech, dress, manners and respect for her husband and I have NEVER known her to cause a problem in one of her husband’s churches.  The beautiful qualities I observed in my mother-in-law that other ministers’ wives ( and really, ALL wives) may want to imitate:

  • She always takes care to dress in a feminine, conservative, modest way (beautiful long dresses or skirts with jackets and a blouse, usually).  She knows that she represents Christ, their church, her husband and their congregation when she is at church or even just out in public in town.  She makes sure she looks decent and put together because she knows she is a reflection of her husband and she wants to be sure she makes him look good.
  • She willingly plays the piano and/or teaches children’s Sunday School classes. She is always a genuine helpmeet to her husband, using her talents and abilities to contribute to the needs of the church.
  • She doesn’t complain or argue in front of others.  I am not aware of a time when she complained about the church or about her husband or someone in the church to a church member.
  • She always upholds her husband’s decisions and cooperates with him and shows a united front at church.
  • She does NOT get involved in gossip or drama.  It is difficult to have close friends when you are the pastor’s wife – you know so much about what is going on and private affairs of so many people – especially in a smaller church (100-300 people).  But she was always SO VERY careful not to create divisions, contention, gossip or spread slander.
  • She always smiles at each person at church, hugs them, is friendly to them, welcomes them and shows as much hospitality as possible in every situation.
  • She always comes to church to support her husband – unless she was sick or in pain.
  • She doesn’t begrudge him the many, many hours he spends away from her and their family (when their children were at home) visiting the sick in the hospital or going to someone’s house where there was a death or counseling people or working on the leaky faucet at the church or someone’s house.
  • She is a wonderful cook and always had a delicious lunch and supper ready for her husband each day and enjoyed the time she got to share with him.
  • She lets her husband lead the conversation about spiritual things with people.
  • She doesn’t do anything that might cause someone to stumble – no alcohol, no working on Sunday, no inappropriate behavior or questionable activities – she avoids even the appearance of evil.
  • She is very responsible and takes good care of her home and was (and still is) a great mother to her boys.
  • She never tells her husband what to preach or how to preach.
  • She trusts her husband to handle his job and calling with wisdom.
  • She knows her husband is responsible, capable, dependable, intelligent and able to do his job well and she shows faith and confidence in him.
  • She always dressed her children well and made sure they behaved well in church.  They also behaved well outside of church, too!
  • She stands by her husband when there is strife in the church.  She is quiet and doesn’t try to defend him herself.  But she is there and offers her supportive presence, showing her respect for him and her belief in him.  But she doesn’t take over in business meetings or try to control things or fix things herself.

Lord,

I lift up all wives who belong to You, but especially ministers’ wives.  Help them to choose to live by Your power to be the wives You want them to be.  Let them honor You and their husbands in their speech, attitudes, behavior, priorities and choices.  Let them point many to You by their obedience to Your Word and their willingness to follow Your design for marriage in Ephesians 5:22-33.  Bless these women richly in their walk with You.  Satan would like to destroy them.  Protect them and their husbands from evil.  Keep them close to Your heart.  Use them to gather a large harvest for Your kingdom and to teach, preach and live well with Your Spirit of power, love, courage and self-control.

In the Name and power of Christ,

Amen!

My Demon.

From Peacefulwife:

I am SOOOOO proud of this precious wife who is absorbing God’s Word and truth like a sponge and striving to obey Him and learn to respect her husband in ways that actually meet his deepest masculine needs.  She is learning so much!  God is truly at work in her heart and it is a beautiful thing to watch – even from over the internet! 🙂  I wanted her to share this post with all of my readers because I believe wives NEED to hear this.  This wife’s description of her “demon” is DEAD ON.  I wonder if husbands know about this stuff?

PS – I have my FIRST Peacefulwife VIDEO up on the Peacefulwife Blog Facebook Page today.  Check it out!  

I started the blog Lessons of Mercy as an accountability to myself, but also to those out there who have found themselves at a place where they see things in their life that need to be transformed into Christ-likeness, however, need a practical way to take the first steps.

Let me tell you a story about Wednesday night.  I really debated writing about this, because my husband reads my blog, however, I’m going to ask him to skip this one because I think the women reading this blog, need to hear about Wednesday night.

I’ve already posted on the this blog about discovering some major disrespect for my husband.  The kind that doesn’t even appear like disrespect in the world we live in today, that seems completely justified, and is so intertwined in my every day life that it’ll be like lifting boulders 100 times my own weight to remove these nasty habits. Yeah, that kind of disrespect.

Wednesday was just an ordinary day until my husband got home from work.  We haven’t been sleeping very well, and he’s been tired.  So he sat down in the chair and turned on the TV while I started fixing supper.

((There is too much back story about the TV “issue” to tell you everything but I will say that I do not have a TV addiction. I actually almost hate the TV.  I never watch it unless he is watching it. Though I have learned to enjoy a couple of the shows. We went 1 1/2 years without any television at all, and recently fixed our antenna so we get all the local channels, which is quite a few more than our parents use to get, but we still don’t have satellite or cable. Even with the absence of TV, we did not take complete advantage according to *me* for what we could do with our time as a family, which tends to make me resentful toward my husband, and with it available in our home again, it is quickly escalating in more time being on and watched than I personally care for it to be on.))

One little thing like the TV being on, quickly invites my demon (yes, I believe everyone has a demon that studies them and tempts them constantly) into a conversation with me.  He says “you’re headed right back to the life where you only speak to your husband on commercials.  Even re-runs are more important than you and the kids.”

I know my Savior. And I can feel the Holy Spirit move.  However, I don’t hear from God like I hear from my demon.  I can pray and spend time in silence after begging God to speak, and feel like after a day of fasting, I still am clueless what God is saying to me, or if He is speaking at all.  But the very moment something pulls on my frustrations, fears, insecurities, or weaknesses, I can hear so vividly and clearly the voice of my demon and am able to carry on long detailed conversations in good or bad directions.

On Wednesday when my demon started talking to me, I spoke back.  But not in my normal fashion.  I said “Get behind me Satan.  I’m not going down this road anymore.”

My husband left to go play guitar.  He’s been doing this once a week after the kids go to bed and I LOVE it!  It gets him out of the house, the chance to play and grow in his talent, and me plenty of time to play around on the computer, crochet or do anything I want without the guilt of ignoring him or the kids.

When my husband left, my demon started talking to me again.  “He was tired tonight, but he has enough energy to go play guitar and stay out til midnight?”

For 11 years, I have taken the bait and spun totally out of control.  I’d spend HOURS at a time ripping my husband to shreds to myself because I let my demon control where the conversation went. But in the last month, God is teaching me things and exposing my sins in grave detail in a way I’ve been so blinded to in the past.

I took those temptations to rip my husband apart and I purposely did the opposite.  I sent him a text thanking him for folding the clothes.  How could I almost have missed that he did that for me?  Remember, it’s because I was being coached to be mad about the TV being on?

I spent time praying for him and thinking about how much we’ve grown in our marriage.

When he got home, I had just headed to bed,  which I don’t normally do.  I am always up waiting for him to get home.  But like I said, we haven’t been sleeping well and I was really tired.  (Which also could have been from such spiritual warfare going on in my heart.)

When he came to bed, he turned on the TV.  I know I know, the stinking TV is like the center of my Wednesday!!  See, we’ve fought quite a few times, jokingly and in some very heated and hurtful conversations about the TV at night.  I like total darkness and complete silence.  He likes the TV being on.

I bet you know what happened.  My demon whispered so tenderly to my ears it practically gave me chills down my neck.  “How come for 11 years he is the one who always gets to go to bed the way he prefers?  Why did he automatically decide *you* have to learn to go to sleep with the TV on?  Why can’t he learn to go to sleep with it off?”

I was so afraid of what I was about to do next that I kissed my husband on the cheek, said “I love you” and then told him I was going to go ahead and sleep on the couch.  When he asked why, I just said as respectfully as I could, “I can’t sleep in here tonight.”

I had to remove myself.  Do you have any idea how many times we’ve fought while trying to go to bed because I’ve had hours of husband bashing sessions with my demon and then I take the opportunity to slay him apart to his face for how awful he is, how bad he messes up, how much he hurts me and every other thing I’m TOTALLY justified and entitled to say?

I laid down on the couch and quickly heard “Why isn’t he out here?  He knows the TV is bugging you, why isn’t he saying you should jump back in bed and he’ll sleep on the couch? Oh yeah, and don’t forget about this…. even though you told him you really need it, he still isn’t praying with you.”  Ouch.  The most tender point of devastation and he HAD to go there.  I tell you what, my demon knows me SO well.  The TV has NOTHING to do with praying together, and he brought it up as a last resort to get me to walk back in that room and destroy our intimacy, respect, trust and unity in our marriage.

I prayed and I told my demon that I have so much sin of my own and I am called to respect my husband no matter what I *think or feel* in any given moment.  I purposefully for the VERY FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE took my thoughts captive, stopped the demon from talking to me, and went to sleep.

I woke up so relieved!!  I didn’t say a bunch of really mean or hurtful things I couldn’t take back.  I kept the TV in perspective and didn’t allow that to be the standard by which I measure him as a husband and father.  I took my thoughts captive and spoke truth over the lies.

I can do this with the help the Holy Spirit is providing.  These boulders can be moved and these habits can be changed.

There are two main reasons why I am finally finding freedom and success.  And they have NOTHING to do with who my husband is, how he acts, or how he treats me. (Because ladies, I got a REALLY good one.  Bragging for another post : )

The first thing I’m really understanding for the first time in my life is that I have thought for 11 years that I’m better than my husband.  It comes out in a few different ways but mostly in the attitude that he sins more than me, and worse than me.  I’ve undoubtedly entertained this lie intimately with thoughts, actions and words that say “I would never have a TV addiction.”  “I’m so much better than him because I’d never do _______.”  “If he was really walking with the Lord he would do xyz.”

Hello pride.  No, I don’t have a TV addiction.  But I have an internet addiction.  No, I wouldn’t ever do _____ but I have spent multiple conversations “gossiping” to my friends.  No, he isn’t doing xyz right now, but I don’t do ALL KINDS of commands in scripture.   It’s disgusting how blind I’ve been to my own sin and how much pride has taken residence in my marriage.

And secondly, I will answer for my actions as a wife.  And God is not going to accept from me “Well, he did this or that.”  My sins will have no justification. And if I really love the Lord and want to serve Him in obedience, I can’t keep looking at someone elses actions and let that decide how I react to the commands my Savior has given me.  I have resolved in my heart that I want to live by the authority of God’s Word, not because of what I have or don’t have but because I have the opportunity to be obedient and give my life in service to become as christ-like as I can this side of eternity.

The Holy Spirit will empower me to live my life with purpose IF I choose to participate.  My only other option is to live my life in reaction to the way other people act by default. That really leaves me trapped and defensive. Feelings I’m definitely no stranger to, but have never been happy to claim as my identity.

Practical Application:

Stop having conversations with my demon.

Take my thoughts captive.

Meditate on the two truths I’m learning from above.

Own freedom.

Live with purpose.

Bring God glory by being obedient to the call on my life no matter if others are doing the same or not.

Respect my husband. Always. In ALL ways.

I had this same LOUD voice in my head all the time – every waking moment – that was constantly accusing my husband of evil – evil motives, evil desires, evil intentions towards me.  I trusted that voice.  I thought that was normal. Turns out the voice was WRONG.  I was greatly deceived.  Learning to respect our husbands involves silencing the demon and our sinful nature.  It means staying on top of sin and repenting for ever single thing that has the slightest offense in God’s sight.  And it means being empowered by God’s Spirit to do what we can’t do on our own.  This is a process.  I am so thankful for this peek into a wife’s thinking and into her heart.  What she is describing is the battle to slay sin and crucify ourselves so that we can live for Christ – it’s part of learning.  She does a FANTASTIC job describing this stage of the journey.  Thank you SO MUCH, Lessonsofmercy, for sharing this powerful piece with us! (PS – my demon had used ALL of those exact same lines on me for 15.5 years.  WORD FOR WORD!  The tv, the praying, everything.  He still tries it on me sometimes – but I cling to Christ and my husband and don’t listen to the accuser anymore!)

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

PLEASE check out the post my husband wrote in response to this “The Voice in His Head”.

SOMETHING TO CAREFULLY CONSIDER:

Demons are real according to the Bible and they are extremely powerful. It is dangerous to try to have conversations with them. God is much more powerful than demons are, but we are not. Here is what Scripture has to say about some false teachers and the casual way they spoke of demons:

Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to heap abuse on celestial beings; 11 yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not heap abuse on such beings when bringing judgment on them from the Lord. 12 But these people blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish. II Peter 2

8In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings. 9But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” 10Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct—as irrational animals do—will destroy them. Jude

What Is Disrespect in Marriage?

UPDATED 6/24/2016

I am going to share about things that cause men to feel disrespected by their wives. (Many of these things would feel very disrespectful to wives, as well.) Every man has his own list of what feels disrespectful and respectful to him.  Some things are almost universally one way or the other to almost all men.  Some things are particular to your husband.  So – what matters most is what is respectful and disrespectful to YOUR man. That’s why it is important to ask him about his preferences and what bothers him and what speaks respect to him.  When things are not tense – you could ask him about some of the things on this list and get his take on the different items.  I wouldn’t ask him about all of them at once – but maybe ask about a few at a time every few days or so and REALLY pay attention to his answers.  Maybe print this out and check the ones that bother him so that you don’t forget.  You’ll need to custom-tailor your respect to your husband for best results!

Keep in mind, too, that a lot of the things that really feel disrespectful to our men are things God labels as sin. Sin is destructive, even if we think it is a “small thing.” Ultimately, the greatest goal is to please Christ and to bless our husbands. We have so much power to destroy our husbands or to build them up.  How I pray God will convict us and open our eyes and that we might learn to be respectful, cooperative wives who value our husbands’ leadership and who honor Christ with every thought, attitude, word and action!

Some of these things will seem like small things because we have been desensitized to disrespect in our culture. Disrespect for men is mainstream now. But just because this is how all of the other women at work or even at church act – that doesn’t mean that is how God desires us to act. The way I treat others is about my character and whether God’s Spirit is in charge of my heart and life or my flesh is in charge. And honestly, most of the things on this list of sin in one way or another – either with our attitudes, motives, words, or actions. As believers in Christ, we are called to live in holiness – not for our spouses, but to please God. And He gives us the power we need to live in victory over sin and in obedience to Him in Christ.

NOTE – I am not writing this post for wives whose husbands have severe issues like major uncontrolled mental health problems, is involved in an active addiction, is truly abusive to you or your children, or is involved in unrepentant infidelity. If you have really serious issues in your marriage, please seek godly, one-on-one, appropriate counsel from someone you can trust.

A GENERAL LIST OF THINGS THAT TEND TO FEEL DISRESPECTFUL TO HUSBANDS/MEN:

– constantly questioning him
– having a critical/judgmental spirit toward him about many things
– acting like he can’t handle his life and responsibilities
– treating him like a child
– using an “angry mama” tone of voice
– scolding him
– frowning a lot
– lots of negative emotions almost all the time
– making demands
– giving directives (bossing him around) rather than polite requests or suggestions “You should,” “You better,” “You need to…”
– freaking out rather than trusting God and trusting him (whenever possible – men tend to respond much better to our trust than to our worry or fear)
unhealthy boundaries where we try to be responsible for things for which they are actually responsible (their spiritual choices, their emotions, their decisions) or we try to make them responsible for things for which we are actually responsible
– humiliating him, especially in front of other people
– being very negative about him in private, but especially in public
– biting sarcasm that is meant to cut him down
– using our words to destroy
– bringing up things from the past that were supposedly forgiven
– keeping a record of every wrong thing he has ever done or said
– attempting to be his conscience or his Holy Spirit
– telling other people negative things about him (If we really have a problem, we should go to God first and then to our husbands. If they are involved in serious unrepentant sin, we may have to involve a trusted counselor, mentor, or pastor. But this stuff doesn’t generally need to be shared with our coworkers, family, friends, church members, neighbors, or Facebook friends.)
complaining
– arguing rather than respectfully discussing
– forcing a very important conversation when he is not ready yet and still needs a bit of time (minutes, hours, maybe days) to process his thoughts or strong emotions
– leaving the room in anger
– criticizing him to the kids
– rolling my eyes
– sighing in exasperation
– undermining his authority to the children
– jumping in to help him when he didn’t ask for help
– giving unsolicited advice
– pride/self-righteousness – looking down on him, thinking I am so much more spiritual than he is
– labeling his sin/temptations as much worse than my sin/temptations
– bitterness
– insulting him
– playing the martyr
– trying to put him on a guilt trip
– manipulation
– refusing to believe him when he is actually trustworthy
– making plans without checking with him (especially big plans)
– spending a lot more money than you had both agreed to, blowing the budget, being irresponsible with money
– not appreciating his contributions to the marriage and family
– demanding sex when they are sick, hurt, exhausted, or feeling extremely disrespected
– withholding sex as punishment
– doing nothing to show respect for our own appearance
– acting like things that are important to him are not a big deal
– taking over and making decisions without giving him a voice
– sharing nothing ourselves and giving up all of our thoughts, opinions, insights, and wisdom – giving up our personhood and expecting him to handle absolutely everything as if he is the dad instead of the husband
idolatry of him, the marriage, happiness, or romance
– expecting him to fail
– expecting him to be perfect and to meet the deepest needs of our soul that only Jesus can meet

REALLY SERIOUS DISRESPECT:

– screaming
– cussing
– throwing things/destroying property
– threatening physical harm
– actually trying to physically harm him
– purposely alienating his children from him
– lying (especially about really big things)
– flirting, infidelity
– total refusal to cooperate with him
– initiating a divorce (unless I have biblical reasons)
– very public extreme humiliation
– comparing him to other men sexually
– insulting his abilities sexually/his manhood
– insulting his abilities to provide financially

RELATED:

What Is Respect in Marriage?
My Husband Shares What Really Speaks Respect to Him
25 Ways to Respect Myself
25 Ways to Show Real Respect to Your Husband
Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin
Abuse
Signs Your Husband May Be Feeling Disrespected and Unloved
23 Signs Your Husband Is Beginning to Trust You Again

If you have a really difficult husband, please check out Nina Roesner’s Strength and Dignity eCourse.

Ways Husbands Lead that Wives Often Don’t Notice

This is a continuation of the post two days ago about how wives tend to have VERY specific and high expectations of exactly what it means to be a spiritual leader – and how many of the things we expect aren’t even biblical.  Not only that – but our expectations can lead to sin in our hearts (contempt, bitterness, resentment, disrespect, rebellion against our husbands or God, divisions, factions, fighting, hatred – and ultimately lost unity in our marriages and families).  When our children (and those around us) witness a marriage like this, they are repelled from Christ.

Let’s look at ways that husbands actually DO try to lead in their families.

There is a REALLY good chance that your husband is trying to lead you – but – are you listening?  Are you following?  Do you even acknowledge his attempts at leadership?

In real life, some husbands tend to lead in subtle ways.  They don’t necessarily announce – “We will now begin our 6:30pm nightly Bible study time.  Here is an outline of the books of the Bible we will be covering for the next 12 months.  There will be  a test every week and here is a list of all the Bible verses I expect each family member to memorize each week.  You will all be graded. There will be an essay question once a month, with extra credit options.”

I think sometimes we as wives tend to expect our husbands to stand in front of our families like a pastor or like a Sunday School teacher and teach for 1 hour every night.

I would like to suggest, that MOST husbands don’t follow that type of style, but they DO try to lead their families in many ways.

EVERY HUSBAND IS UNIQUE

Each husband has his own style, personality, perspective, gifts and strengths.  Each one will have his own particular brand of leadership – and it will change as he grows and matures.  But keep in mind that NO husband arrives to marriage completely spiritually mature and with a total grasp on godly leadership.  Godly maturity and leadership are developed over many years, decades even.  And the more we cooperate and support our husbands’ attempts at godly leadership, the more quickly they will learn and grow and honor God.

Also – remember that for a husband to be a great leader – he needs a great follower – you!  If you are trying to lead – you are not following.  If you are busy criticizing, you are not following.  It’s time for us to learn to be fantastic, supportive, encouraging, amazing followers!

MY HUSBAND’S BRAND OF LEADERSHIP

This section is a description of my husband’s particular style and how our marriage works now.  Your marriage may look different.  That’s ok.  Follow YOUR husband’s leadership and appreciate his strengths.  Admire and thank him often for what he does for you and your family.

My husband leads first of all by example, I believe.  Even when I was so disrespectful and controlling – my husband was peaceful, forgiving, patient, kind, generous and loving.  Back then, I thought I was so spiritually mature and “above” him because I read my Bible daily, I prayed a LOT (sometimes 4 hours/day), I wrote my prayers in a notebook, I could quote lots of scripture, and I “knew” how things should be.  But I held grudges, didn’t forgive, was very impatient, rude, condescending, holier-than-thou, disrespectful, prideful and was committing constant idolatry –  putting my own self and trying to have control up as idols in my heart.  I also put my husband and our marriage as idols in my soul.  And I didn’t even see it.  Like Eve, I was so blind and deceived, but I thought I knew best.  Imagine the blessings and miracles I missed out on for 15 years because of my disobedience to God’s Word and the sin I cherished for so long in my heart.

My husband leads in subtle ways, ways I used to miss:

  • He gives me direction and guidance.  Often what he is saying is really God’s Word to me – if I will but listen and cooperate.  My husband may say, “I think you are spending too much time blogging.  I want you to take a break and spend some time with the family for awhile.”  THAT IS SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP, LADIES!  Or he may say, “I think you need to take a nap today.  You haven’t been getting enough sleep and I can see you are really worn out.” Sometimes, he just makes suggestions. That is his way of leading me. He doesn’t usually give me “commands.”  I am wise when I listen to his suggestions.  The whole family benefits from my husband’s wisdom and leadership.
  • He helps me say no to unhealthy commitments.  He sees where I get out of balance or zealous to do something that might take too much of my energy and leave me drained with nothing but scraps for my family.
  • He disciplines our children.  My husband may be more strict or harsh with our children than I am.  Or sometimes, he may be more relaxed with them than I am.  But his powerful influence on our children is a HUGE way that he leads spiritually in our family.   If I cooperate with him, tell him my feelings and perspective, but trust him to handle situations as he sees best – my children learn real discipline, they learn to have godly character, they see the unity in our marriage and they see my example of how to submit to God-given authority.  My example is the standard upon which  they will base their own future submission to God and God-given authority.
  • He desires physical intimacy with me.  God designed sex to be the glue that holds a married couple together physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  Both the husband and wife are bonded to one another during the one flesh relationship with a cocktail of neurotransmitters and endorphins (a natural “high”).  And sex unifies the married couple spiritually in ways we can’t begin to fathom.  It helps to keep divisions away.  It removes tension and helps promote forgiveness.  This needs to be a HUGE priority whenever physically possible in marriage.  And I count this as one of the ways my husband gently leads me and creates a very loving, strong, tight-knit, unified, vibrant, flourishing marriage relationship.  It’s important to stop serving the family and just enjoy and savor each other.  Kind of like our quiet time with God rejuvenates our soul.  The relationship and intimacy is much more important than the to-do list. (If your husband is not interested in sex, check out this post. If you feel like a piece of meat to your husband, check out this post. I also have a number of others, send me a comment if you need more resources.)
  • He handles the salesmen and solicitors.
  • He gently confronts sin in me when he sees it.
  • He tends to see the big picture.  My husband doesn’t get bogged down in every little detail like I tend to do.  Sometimes, I get overwhelmed with all the daily little details and having my husband there to help me step back and look at the bigger picture saves my sanity many times!
  • He takes care of his own spiritual connection with God.  He decides how, when, where he reads the Bible and prays.  He seeks God’s will for his life and our family. I encourage and support him. But I don’t interfere with his relationship with the Lord or try to tell him what to do anymore.
  • He doesn’t get swayed by emotions like I do.  There are definitely times when my hormones and emotions completely engulf me and I feel like I am drowning.  My husband is my “second rock” (Jesus is my first!) and he can help pull me up onto dry ground if I am willing.  There are times when I know I can’t rely on my feelings, and during those stormy days, I trust my husband’s words, his love for me, God’s Words and His love for me – and I don’t trust my feelings.  I keep my eyes on Christ and I keep my eyes on my husband and hang on tight, knowing that my feelings will settle down in a few days.  I don’t allow myself to be tossed about by my hormones and feelings.  I trust God and my husband and don’t lean on my own understanding.  My faith in Christ and my man are much greater now than my faith in my own wisdom or my emotions.  My husband can pull me up onto the rock of his steady soul and he is a resting place, a safe place for me.
  • He takes responsibility now for the ultimate decisions.  This is a HUGE relief for me!  I couldn’t carry all that weight.  It overwhelmed me before.  Now, I am so FREE!  I can share my perspective, my feelings and desires, but then I trust my husband and God to work out each decision for what is in my best interests.  I can’t always see what is best.  When I try to lead, I take us the wrong way. I feel such weight off my soul since I know HE is the one who will answer to God, not me.  What a blessing!  I feel safe, protected and cherished.
  • He handles the finances now.   I took care of the finances for the first 16 years of our marriage or more.  And that was ok.  But it ended up that I was telling my husband what to do (when my hours were suddenly cut at work) – and that didn’t really work well.  I told my husband, “I can’t handle the finances anymore.  Here are the accounts and passwords.  Thank you for taking over.”  And then I left it with him and never touched it again.  He is saving us money in ways I had never even thought about!  And he feels the full weight of his accountability this way.  So he makes very wise decisions.  Also, he is able to treat me by taking me out to dinner or buying me things and I’m not telling him he can’t do that.  He is MUCH more generous with me AND even more responsible now that he is in charge!
  • He drives when we are together.
  • He gives me the better vehicle.
  • He researches books on marriage for me and buys me lots of books about respect, biblical submission, godly femininity and godly marriage.  He lets me share what I am learning and he listens and discusses things with me and shares his insights and perspective.
  • He takes time for himself to recharge.  Unlike wives, husbands are usually careful to have some down time so that they don’t burn themselves out.  I really admire this about men!  And he encourages me to slow down and just savor cuddling together and being together without running around like a crazy woman all the time.  That has been very healing for my soul!
  • He has fun with me and our children.  This creates a much more healthy balance for all of us than my constant seriousness did.  He definitely brings an amazing balance to our family that I was not able to bring when I tried to be in charge.
  • He stays calm and collected under pressure.  His ability to face difficulties with dignity, poise, strength, courage and self-control helps me be able to have those same qualities, too!
  • He is my compass.  If I am having a particularly difficult time with our children, I will ask my husband if he thinks I am being too hard on them, or unreasonable, or if he thinks I am being too easy on them.  His perspective helps me steer straight and not veer off too far one way or the other like I am prone to do on my own.
  • He makes the final decision.  I am free to suggest anything, to ask for anything, to want anything, to feel any way.  And most of the time, my husband does what I ask since he loves to see me happy.  But if we don’t agree – I willingly and cheerfully cooperate with his call on that issue.  If he made a mistake, I don’t hold it against him.  I trust God to use even his mistakes for our ultimate good.  I thank him for his decisions and for looking out for the best interests of everyone in the family. (There are times when a wife would not be able to submit to her husband, in certain situations.)
  • He is the one I go to first (outside of the Lord).  Whether it is good news, or a decision that must be made, or awful news – I call/text/email/talk to my husband FIRST about things.  I seek out his opinion and his wisdom before I make decisions.
  • He does a lot of behind the scenes work on my blog.  He helps find an audience for me and finds guest writers for me.
  • When I am confused about something – I go to him.  He also is always willing to listen and talk with me about issues that come up and spiritual topics – whether they are things I am writing about or situations people are in or family situations at home.
  • He decides how to use his time.  He decides what house project he wants to work on and when.  He decides his own priorities.
  • He arranges our vacations and finds great deals on them.

There are other ways, too.  But maybe this will give you a few things to think about.

What are some ways your husband leads you?  You are welcome to share!

Gentlemen, what are some ways you try to lead in your marriage and in your families?  What is your definition of spiritual leadership and what do you believe God calls you to do?

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